Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic's parade of nations - a march of athletes or social studies lesson?

Every two years, during the opening ceremonies of the Winter or Summer Olympics, there seems to be a debate over whether the commentators (usually NBC's Bob Costas) should try to weave in interesting tidbits about the countries as they parade in.
What would make the most sense on this occasion would be fun facts about the athletes. Or perhaps some insight into a struggle that one of the Olympians has overcome.
But anymore, it has turned into a Western-centric, lowest common denominator boiling down of every stereotype of each country. In the cases where the voices behind the mics actually try to talk about the strife in countries, they are boiled down to a context-less, banal explanation without any insight into the possible impact on the Olympians themselves.
Frankly, there is no time in the 30 seconds per country to begin a geo-political discussion about the issues in Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan or even the political hot buttons of universal health care that were dredged up during theatrical portions of the show.
Here's some friendly advice for the writers of the Sochi Winter Games in 2014 - keep the spirit of the games in mind.